Surely it is in the Geography class that the child can be made to see most clearly that this is his Father’s world. He sees the mountains and the streams, the rich soil and the minerals, the plants and the animals, the food and the water for his life. And, if he has had a covenant training, if he has been taught in this subject by a believer, by one who gave instruction in His fear, that child will in reverence and awe cry out: “My Father’s world!” O, reader of these lines, do you want your child to do that? All too often all these wonderful works of God’s hands are attributed to anything but God’s wisdom and power.
All too often the Creator is denied by the creature that He has made. For little children are taught to grow up in His world to use it to oppose Him. And even a Christian school, unless it is one in more than name, misses a glorious opportunity when it does not present Geography in such a way that the child sees that it is his Father’s world. A Christian school is not one that is simply called such. A Christian school, surely, is not one that caters to antichristian scientists’ theories and philosophies. A Christian school is not even one that has the Bible as a subject that is taught. It is not a school with the Bible. It is a school in which all the subjects are taught in the light of the Bible. It is a school wherein all the instruction is based on the Bible and the teacher is able to say of all his instruction: “Thus saith the Lord about His own world.” It is a school built upon the Bible. The Bible is no side issue, it is that which rules all the teaching.
And Geography is such a rewarding subject and lends itself so easily and richly to instruction of the covenant youth to see that the world in which he lives, together with all that which it contains is GOD’S and that this God is his God forever and ever. Yea that this God is his Father in Christ. For as we remarked last time, Christian instruction does not ignore Christ. And He spoke of the geographical extent of the missionary work upon which He sent His disciples, pointing out the geographical areas and progress that the Gospel would enjoy, But Geography is not taught from a Christian point of view when it ignores Christ. He came to this earth, was exalted above this earth and returns unto it again at the end of time. Meanwhile He is in heaven with all authority over the earth as well as over all that which is in heaven. That is what He told His disciples just before He ascended up into heaven. He said, “All authority . . .” And although our English translation has, “All power is given me . . .,” Jesus spoke of authority. He does have power over all these as well; and nothing happens on this earth except by His power. He opens the book with the seven seals, not only reads what must shortly come to pass, as it is written on the pages of this book, but causes them to take place. The wars, the earthquakes, the storms at sea, the industry of man, the curse upon the plants and animals are all His work. And all this must not be lost sight of in the Geography class. O, that does not mean that we give the children a lecture on the Book of Revelation, or that we give them a course in Christology. Not at all. But it does mean that if we lose sight of this in our teaching, we do not see this earth in the right light together with all that which it contains.
Geography is a very rich subject and has many sides to it. Webster tells us that Geography is “the science of the earth and its life; especially the description of the land and sea and air, and the distribution of its plant and animal life, including man and his industries.” There is in the first place that which is called Mathematical Geography. As the name suggests, it deals with figures, numbers, length and breadth, distance from one point to another. The chief tool of instructing in this Mathematical Geography is a set of maps. The size, shape of continents, seas, rivers, relative size also are all clearly demonstrated to the child. He learns to see the comparative size of his own country. He sees the vastness of the oceans and the fact that the greater share of the earth’s surface is covered with water. He gets a general view of the planet on which God has placed him. And when he looks at a globe, he sees his Father’s world in the shape and form that God was pleased to create it. And even here already the child can be taught to say in truth, “How great Thou art!”
There is that which is called Physical Geography which treats the three physical aspects of that earth on which we live the soil with its minerals and resources; the water and its distribution and uses; the atmosphere and its effect upon that soil and water. So much can be said about these elements; and each makes an interesting study in itself. We are reminded of what Moses declared to Israel after he had been on the mount with God, “And thou shalt teach them (the words of the law of God) diligently to thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up again.” Deuteronomy 6:7. For although the text speaks of the teaching of God’s law to our children throughout the day and in connection with all that which we meet, we are to teach our children that all that which we see when we walk by the way speaks of one God and no God besides HIM! It is the soil of ONE God, the water of ONE God; and the air we breathe belongs to this ONE God. It is our Father’s world and His alone. There is no God besides Him! And all that which we see in the variety of soil—the barren desert too—the numerous rivers and waters must be seen as God’s. Here again the child must be taught to say of that God, besides whom he may have no other god, “How great thou art!”
There is what is called Geomorphology which is that phase of Geography that deals with the form of the earth’s crust, the lofty and majestic mountains, the deep chasms and ravines, the slopes and level valleys. This too effects man in several ways and determines what his crop shall be which he shall plant and what his industry shall be. It takes us to places hundreds of feet below sea level and to the top of mountain peaks that reach well above 14,000 ft. sea level. It speaks of the Plains States, of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys in our land, of Seaboard States, Gulf States, and Plateau States. And traits that differ, as well as industry that is varied, will be seen in each of these areas.
Political Geography deals with the distribution of the population upon the earth; and here of course the Scriptural teaching of the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel with its resultant scattering of man and his division into nations must be borne in mind and the reason of God for this scattering. We repeat that instruction to be Christian must not only recognize Christ but honor Him as The Christ. And that means that His Church is to be reckoned with in the Geography class as well as in the Bible class. God scattered the nations for the wellbeing of His Church and set in motion the work which has resulted in today’s distribution of His highest earthly creature. It is not true that you can teach this subject apart from the Word of God, and do it justice. Tracing these nations and races and tribes the unbelieving scientist still comes to the conclusion that the area where the Bible says that the ark of Noah came down is the “cradle of civilization.” Here, too, of course, is the explanation to the child of the physical form and shape of OUT earths crust. The layers of rock that are exposed in mountainous regions, are broken off and form many angles, the deep ravines and chasms, the Great Lakes and boulder strewn fields all have their explanation there. And Geography depends, for a proper explanation of all the physical features but also the distribution of man upon this earth, upon the Word of God. Again whether he likes it or not, the unbeliever cannot get away from that Word of God and from Christ. Repeatedly you will hear him speak of this or that date B.C. and of 1963 A.D. He must speak of a period before Christ and of the year of our Lord. He finds that he cannot even speak intelligently to his fellow men without referring to Christ in regard to time. And, if you please to Christ’s birth! Soon enough he will be concerned with Geography when this Christ returns to this earth; and he will call for the hills and mountains to fall upon him and hide him from the Christ Whom he hates. Be he scattered over the face of this earth, he will be gathered in one place to be judged of that Christ.
We could also point out that there is Commercial Geography that treats the distribution of the world’s wealth and production. And the child is taught where certain minerals are found, what the industries of the various countries are and how the human race is fed and clothed with materials from the four corners of the earth. The covenant child, of course, is taught here that the “earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1. The cattle upon a thousand hills are His, and so are those hills on which they graze. Likewise the men who tend them, slaughter them, tan their hides, cut the meat into choice cuts, package and ship it through the length and breadth of this land. Really it makes no difference how you look at this rich and broad subject of Geography, it is not difficult to view it in the light of God’s Word. We say, again, surely in the Geography class the truth that this is our Father’s world is clearly and most literally to be seen. And a Geography textbook that would look at the whole of this vast subject in the light of God’s Word would be a very valuable book to have on the shelf at home as well.
We purpose to say a few more things about this truth that in Geography we must be taught that this is our Father’s world. But in conclusion for this time we want to remind ourselves of that most basic of all principles that governs all Christian training and education and may never be lost sight of in any instruction, whether it be in the day school or the Church school. Paul expressed it in Romans 11:36: “Of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Of Him is all Geography also in all its phases and aspects. And this must be seen and be believed. It is just as true that that all these things are through Him. Woe unto that man who foolishly tries to keep them from being unto Him. In His fear we will stand in awe and sin not. We will put our hands to our mouths and remove them only to do as Paul does: ascribe all glory to Him. The heavens declare His glory. Shall we who were created with mouths do likewise?